West Kilbride Golf Club is undertaking a thorough and far-reaching bunker renovation project. We catch up with course manager Jim Paton who is two thirds of the way through reconditioning and reshaping the club’s 84 bunkers.
We last caught up with you nearly two years ago when you were in the middle of renovating and reshaping 38 bunkers. How did that go?
“It went well, but we’ve done more work since then on another 18 bunkers. We’re getting through them, but we still have a lot to do. The main thing is the members like the work that’s getting done.”
How are the new bunkers performing?
“Really well. We’ve had some issues with sand blow, so we’re changing to Hugh King’s Bunker 7 which is more gritty than the Bunker 8 sand we were using. It’s a wee bit heavier. We started that process at the end of last year so we’ve only had a few loads but we are starting to fill the bunkers now with the new sand.”
What have you got planned for February and the run-up to the start of the season?
“We’ve not been as wet as the 2017 winter, which was awful. From that July until February; that was the wettest period we’d had for a long time. This winter has been a lot drier. We’re building towards the start of the members’ season which will also coincide with the Scottish Boys’ Strokeplay Championship in April. We’ll be preparing the golf course by top-dressing it with Hugh King’s Washed Dune sand to get the surfaces to their optimum.”
What is your topdressing regime?
“Well, the club took on a major programme of hollow-coring tees, greens and approaches last year. We used 120 tonnes of Washed Dune sand on the greens and another 40 tonnes was put on the approaches, so we’re looking at over 200 tonnes for the tees, greens and approaches. We also topdressed six times during the year, so that was another 120 tonnes, so we’ve been using a lot of sand.”
That’s a lot of sand going down.
“We’re trying to firm up and level off the surfaces. The objective is more consistent, firmer playing surfaces. And we’ll continue with our topdressing programme over the growing season.”
How long have you been using Hugh King?
“I’ve been here for 38 years and we’ve been using Hugh King all that time, and they still provide a very good service. It’s important to have a reliable and consistent product. Hugh King has and continues to deliver that.”